Athens GA, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Columbia MO, Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Duke University, NC, Durham & Chapel Hill, East Lansing, Flagstaff, AZ, Houston, Iowa City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Lubbock TX, Manhattan KS, Muncie IN, New Orleans, New York City, Oneonta, Pittsburgh, Plattsburgh, Providence, Richmond VA, San Fernando Valley, San Francisco, Twin Cities, West Georgia (University)
This interview with Alberta’s site leader Lauren Alston was conducted by Lauren Bedosky.
1.) When did you start your HOLLA? I started working on the Alberta chapter of Hollaback in September of 2010, but Hollaback Alberta officially launched April 1st, 2011.
2.) Why did you start a HOLLA and what does Hollaback mean to you? I started a HOLLA because I was frustrated with how people were disrespected in their own communities, and targeted based on their perceived gender, sexual orientation, race, or any other identifying factors. I am frustrated that I am consistently reminded that some people view me as a sexual object and not a human being with feelings, thoughts, and complexity.
3.) HOLLAfact about your city: Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, is Canada´s Festival City, hosting over 30 festivals every year!
4.) What was your first experience with street harassment? I can’t remember which one came first but both were when I was about 12 years old: One was getting called “hey sexy” by an older boy. The other was when I was at a pool and a random man grabbed my face and told me how beautiful he thought I was, then when he leaned in to kiss my cheek, I freaked out and ran away.
5.) What’s your signature Hollaback? If the person is threatening, creepy or vulgar I will point out that what they’re doing is street harassment and that it is not appreciated, or if I don’t feel comfortable saying something I will show them a visibly disgusted face. If the person is being stupidly disrespectful (as if they think it’s a joke) I will satirically start making weird animal noises (ie: if they whistle or cat-call I’ll pretend I’m looking for their lost dog and they get the hint), or if they are using cheesy lines I declare my love for fluffy llamas/alpacas and they end up being confused or at least realize they sound equally ridiculous.
6.) What is your proudest holla moment so far? The Hollaback Alberta launch party was very successful with over 100 attendees: we featured local speakers involved in municipal government and the University of Alberta, 5 musical acts, and 7 organizations tabled. We made wonderful contacts with local organizations and non-profits and raised awareness about the initiatives of Hollaback Alberta and why street harassment is an important issue.
7.) What do you do when you’re not holla’ng? Well a lot of my time is spent in school: I’m a graduate student working on my MSc in Neuroscience. But I also enjoy drawing, writing comics for the U of A newspaper: The Gateway, checking out live music with friends, playing music with friends, and playing basketball. I would also not be where I am today if it weren’t for the support of my wonderful family and friends whom I love dearly.
8.) What are you excited about in 2013? The spread of awareness of street harassment: what it is, that it’s not okay, and that we’re not putting up with it! I’m so stoked to see more sites start up around the world, and to continue to be involved with awesome local events and organizations in Alberta!
9.) What inspires you? People who have the courage to speak out for what is right, despite the consequences.
We are Hollaback!, an international movement to end street-harassment, and we have heard from thousands of self-respecting women for whom street harassment is a constant struggle: it is scary, it is dehumanizing, and they do not want it. We collect their stories so that their voices will not go silent: we raise their experiences into a collective HOLLABACK!
In today’s Gawker article Mayor Bloomberg was quoted saying, “I know for a fact that any self-respecting woman who walks past a construction site and doesn’t get a whistle will turn around and walk past again and again until she does get one.” This comment wrongly seeks to place responsibility for street harassment in the hands of the person being harassed. Street harassers are in control of and accountable for their own actions. Catcalling is never the “fault” of women, who, according to Bloomberg’s fantasy, demand that attention.
In addition, his words are an ugly attempt to classify a woman’s value on her ability, and willingness, to elicit sexual attention from strangers. Women, and men as well, should not feel forced to make a trade-off about ownership of their bodies in order to pass by a public space.
As the Mayor of a city with vast public spaces enjoyed by men and women alike, Bloomberg has a duty to make it clear that everyone has a right to feel safe as we go about our days in the sidewalks, streets, and subways.
Many Self-Respecting Women
Welcome to our weekly update! Let’s get started.
The mothership got some nice press this week — we were mentioned in this MS Magazine’s article, How Some Men Harass Women Online and What Other Men Can Do to Stop It, profiled in The Story Exchange, and interviewed for Vice Magazine! When Vice starts to care about street harassment — you know change is in the air.
And now, without further ado, our sites have had quite a week:
Hollaback! Des Moines published their very awesome 5 Things You Can Do Right Now To End Street Harassment on the Hollaback Des Moines website! They are continuing to bring in stories for their Story Drive. The goal is to collect 50 stories by March 1st, so share your story if you haven’t already! We are also very excited to announce Hollaback! Des Moines’ newest team member: welcome, Alysa Mozak to our Hollaback! family! Alysa currently works as a Sexual Assault Response Coordinator and Healthy Relationship Promoter at Drake University. Very Cool.
Hollaback! Alberta did a screening this past Wednesday of the documentary The Invisible War at local theatre in Edmonton. The site posted an important lesson on the harmful effects of the improper use of the word “rape.” View the post here.
Hollaback! Istanbul got some big press this week. After friend of our site leader and acclaimed journalist Alyson Neel published widely-read article in the Washington Post, In Istanbul, street harassment is a constant, both Alyson Neel and our Hollaback! Istanbul Programs Director, Ezgi Cincin, were interviewed on Television! Watch them talk about the effects of street harassment HERE! (note: it’s in Turkish).
Hollaback! Philly’s site leader Rochelle Keyhan was featured in a groundbreaking 20-minute documentary titled Trigger Warning. The documentary explores the harmful effects of rape jokes and violent discourse in comedy as we have grown accustomed to it. Definitely a must-watch.
COMING SOON: One Billion Rising is quickly approaching, and a whole bunch of incredible programs are in the works at Hollaback! sites all over the world. Get involved with you local Hollaback! site, it’s going to be the best V-Day yet.
Our Hollaback! community is making street harassment a known issue and a paramount international conversation. THANK YOU to our incredible site leaders and supporters worldwide. Let’s keep it going!
Holla and out–
Welcome to our weekly update! First of all, we are so excited to welcome our brand new interns: Jae, our International Movement Building/Legislative Intern, Julia, our Communications Intern, and Lindsay, our Development and Research Intern! We are excited to have you three on our Hollaback! team.
Hollaback! has no doubt started this year right! We have some very exciting site updates this week:
Hollaback! Winnipeg is continuing their incredible work with the Bystander Intervention Vlog, coaching those who witness harassment on how to be an effective bystander and stop street harassment in its tracks. Check out Hollaback Winnipeg’s Jodie Layne breaking it down:
Hollaback! San Francisco’s site director, Michelle Seivers, went ON THE AIR this past Monday on 91.7 KALW “Your Call” to discuss the recent attacks on women in the Bay Area and around the world, and what Hollaback! San Francisco is doing as to fight street harassment and violence. Listen to the show here.
Hollaback! Baltimore is celebrating their second birthday Friday, February 8! They are also continuing to do great work with their survey on street harassment. Haven’t filled it out yet? Here’s the link.
Keep up the amazing work!
HOLLA and out —
2013 is off to a roaring start!
First off, a big THANK YOU to the MAKERS project for creating six awesome videos about our work. My favorites are “Pissing People Off” and “Progress.”
Second, congrats to our partners at GirlTank for releasing their first video of girl-innovators, featuring me alongside SO MANY OTHER AMAZING GIRL ACTIVISTS.
Third, I want to give special thanks to the Paley Center’s Executive Director Pat Mitchell for the shout-out in Fast Company! “Mitchell’s got a long list of other inspirational and influential examples. She reels off a set of names that ranges from teen activist Julie Bluhm (who took on Seventeen magazine’s photoshopping policies); Deanna Zandt for her Planned Parenthood Saved Me Tumblr blog; Emily May of Hollaback.” If you aren’t familiar with Deanna or Julie – check them out! They both rule.
Hollaback Croatia was on Croatian National TV discussing their recent research on street harassment!
Hollaback sites in Canada are parterning with the Represent Project. They are “offering a new forum to challenge damaging media representations of women in Canada.” RAD!
Hollaback London published a letter to Argos written by Rachel, a woman who was harassed by employees of the company. In the letter, Rachel writes, “Sexual harassment is always unacceptable, at any time and in any place, but the fact that these men feel they have the right to harass a woman while representing the Argos brand demonstrates extreme impudence. I hope that the management at Argos will take this matter very seriously and deal with their staff appropriately”. Way to go, Rachel!
Hollabackers in Mexico, Richmond, St. Paul, and San Francisco are banning together to do a content analysis of bystander stories on our site. They will be looking for trends around bystander intervention, including impact.
Hollaback Jacksonville, NC’s leader Kari Raack is up for military spouse of the year! Please vote for her. If she wins, she plans to use the platform spread the world about Hollaback across the military and their families.
Last but not least, we’ve got a couple volunteer positions open!Take a look and let us know if you can help.
HOLLA and out —
Dear Hollabackers —
HAPPY NEW YEAR! First and foremost, we want to big a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who donated in our December campaign. We raised $10,000 to help us achieve our big goals in 2013, including:
We’re still looking for additional funding for these projects, so if you know of anyone who would be interested in supporting us, please let us know! Otherwise, without further ado, here are our site updates:
Hollaback Jacksonville was featured in the JD news! “Street harassment happens everywhere,” Kari Raack, founder of Hollaback! Jacksonville said. “Hollaback! is a platform for men and women to have a way to ‘hollaback’ at the people who have committed street harassment against them.”
Hollaback Pathenkot published a letter to the editor in response to the recent rang rape and murder in India that has result in widespread protest. Site leader PAAYAS PANDIT writes, “The Delhi incident just goes to highlight the barbarism that prevails in our society. It would not be wrong to say that India has become a thoroughly uncivilised, patriarchal society.”
Hollaback Chandigarh launched the Pledge Project in response to the gang rape in Delhi. “It’s the pledge to speak up when we see a woman being harassed on the streets. We pledge to intervene when a woman is being raped/assaulted, pledge to simply dial 100 or 1091 to save a woman’s life and dignity,” says Rubina Singh. The project has already received over 500 pledges and was covered in the Indian Express, the Hindustan Times, and the Daily Post India. Hollaback was also cited in the Times of India article, “‘Men’s psychological troubles spur harassment of women on streets.”
Hollaback Dublin had a launch party and took super cute photos!
Last but not least, something fun for the new year from our site leader Julie Lalonde in Ottawa: the intro to this super-fun Scissor Sisters song starts off talking about harassment on public transportation.
It’s 2013: Let’s have KIKI!
HOLLA and out —
Walking around through town, some guy looks me up and down. I looked at the ground and he walks off shouting “cheer up”. I was cheerful before he turned up!
“I realized there were no organizations or groups addressing street harassment particularly and that this was an issue that many people would talk about but had no clear way of responding to. Working for Hollaback! means that I can help provide a safe space for people who feel uncomfortable in public spaces due to harassment, a space that was not available before.” – Gabriela Amancaya
Site Leader Gabriela Amancaya launched AtréveteDF to raise awareness about street harassment and to create a space for constructive dialogue about the issue. She is proud to report that, since the site launch and the local SlutWalk, more people are breaking the silence and discussing their experiences of street harassment. Gabriela notes the importance of media coverage and social networking in the site’s growth, but she is most excited about the person-to-person connections she has made through Hollaback!. Gabriela notes, “The people who write to us are grateful to have a space where they can find and share information about street harassment. I think that is the main goal: to get people to feel comfortable, involved, talking about the subject, and eager to participate [in the discussion.]” In addition to reaching out to community members, Gabriela has built relationships with local organizations that focus on youth, gender and sexual and reproductive rights.
If you’ve already donated, THANK YOU!
If you haven’t yet donated, THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR YOUR SUPPORT! (donate now!)
Today is the last day! THANK YOU for your support, it’s so important to our success.